Q&A with the only candidate for Albemarle County Sheriff

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In Virginia, sheriffs are constitutional officers elected to four-year terms. They are responsible for their community’s law enforcement, jail administration, court security and civil processing. While some sheriff’s departments handle law enforcement directly, others cede that responsibility to local police departments.

Incumbent Sheriff Chan R. Bryant is seeking her second term as Albemarle County Sheriff. She is running unopposed, though she faced two opponents during her last election in 2019 — one in the Democratic primary and one in the general election.

Though Bryant is the only candidate certified by the Virginia Department of Elections, voters can write-in other candidates.

Charlottesville Tomorrow designed a questionnaire for Bryant based on more than 200 responses we received to a voter survey. She provided answers below.

Can you tell us a little about the role of Sheriff? What is the office responsible for and how does it differ from the police departments?

Chan R. Bryant: The sheriff is an elected official who is responsible to the community. The Sheriff’s Office handles courtroom security, civil process, and prisoner and mental patient transports. Last year the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office handled over 900 courts, transported over 800 prisoners and over 120 mental health transports, while serving over 33,000 civil and criminal processes. 

The difference between the sheriff’s office and the police department is that the sheriff’s office handles all civil issues within the county and has criminal and traffic authorities. The police department handles 911 calls, crashes, and investigations for the county. The sheriff is an elected official chosen by the voters of Albemarle County, while the chief of police is appointed by the Board of Supervisors. 

What do you think about the Sheriff’s Office working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement?

Bryant: The Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office does not work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Albemarle County Police Department is the primary law enforcement agency for the county and there is a regional jail for Charlottesville and Albemarle County run by a jail board. The Sheriff’s Office does not directly work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Are there other pressing issues facing the Albemarle Sheriff’s Department that you’d like voters to know about?

Bryant: Staffing continues to be an issue as mental health transports continue to take deputies further and further across the commonwealth. As well as staffing with the new General District Court building, which will be opening in 2025, and the remodeling of the Circuit Court building, opening in 2026.

Do you have any certifications or qualifications for this position that you want voters to know about?

Bryant: Since 2006, I have worked in every position in the Sheriff’s Office, both as a deputy and in command. In 2019 I was elected Sheriff of Albemarle County and for the last four years I have dedicated my office to becoming more involved in the community and striving for excellence from my deputies to bring the Sheriff’s Office further than it has ever been. During my time as sheriff, I have also received my Master Sheriff Certification.

  • Sept. 22: First day of in-person early voting at your local registrar’s office.
  • Oct. 16: Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration. You can also register after this date, and on election day, but you will vote with a provisional ballot, could take longer for officials to count because they will verify your eligibility.
  • Oct. 27: Deadline to apply for a ballot to be mailed to you. Your request must be received by your local registrar by 5:00 p.m.
  • Oct. 28: Voter registration offices open for early voting.
  • Nov. 4: The last day of in-person early voting at your registrar.
  • Nov. 7: Election Day. Here is where you can find your polling place.

Need to know if you’re eligible to vote? Here are resources from the Virginia Department of Elections.

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